How the IoT is helping support sustainable homes

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been a force for change across industries. Supported by 5G wireless connectivity and a range of powerful devices, the technology collectively known as the IoT is at the forefront of business innovation. With the efficiency borne of the IoT, companies are even finding they can promote sustainability. 

With COP26 announcements this year, including a mandate for UK firms to show how they’ll hit net-zero emissions, homes and businesses shouldn’t view sustainability as something they can put off any longer. Applying the power of the IoT can create a more sustainable household. 

But first, let’s look at what makes the IoT such a helpful tool in the fight for sustainability.

The sustainability credentials of the IoT

To better understand the potential of the IoT in a green home, you must first understand what it is and does.

The Internet of Things is the term commonly given to a range of devices that are uniquely addressable with an internet connection. It means that everyday objects get assigned IP addresses so they can communicate valuable data between systems, people and businesses. And the potential of these billions of devices is transforming the way we look at business, healthcare and sustainability itself. 

That’s because, amid chaotic supply chains and incalculable data sets, IoT devices focus on real-time information to give you the facts about your procedures and impacts. In healthcare, for instance, this has enabled eHealth, a means for physicians to more adequately track patient vitals and provide early diagnoses in many circumstances. 

In business, the IoT has made possible a range of sustainable solutions all through similar efficiency and transparency upgrades. One partnership between General Alert and IoT specialist 1248 enabled a system of sensors and monitors that together encompassed an unprecedented view into the well-being of livestock. In doing so, they were able to balance CO2 concentrations and improve animal conditions. 

But how might the same system used for monitoring pigs be useful in improving your own home’s efficiency?

How IoT streamlines sustainable home potential

When it comes to sustainability, the IoT provides exceptional potential. That’s because the same innovations that make sustainability possible in agriculture are possible in housing. Conditions like temperature, time of day, moisture level and amount of sunlight all impact the energy efficiency and resource use of a home. The IoT is designed to monitor these conditions and intervene as needed to produce optimal results. 

For houses, this comes in the shape of a few common products and functions we’re familiar with in the smart home market. These include:

  • Smart lights
  • Smart smoke detectors
  • Smart home hubs
  • Voice assistants
  • Video-enabled doorbells

All of these systems, because of their unique properties as internet-connected devices, can monitor data and computationally adjust depending on conditions. This means that power can be saved through smart temperature adjustments, automatic lighting, and smart power utilisation with the help of renewable energy sources. 

In combination with solar and wind systems, IoT devices have even greater power in mitigating waste and optimising clean energy utilisation. That’s because these tools can monitor the availability of alternative power sources and use it to supplement a grid-tied system for greater energy (and therefore cost) savings.

IoT smart devices in homes have a wide range of applications as far as sustainability is concerned. Each of these applications can make a huge difference in your own environmental impact. For instance, an undetected leak can waste as much as 300 gallons of water per day, but these devices can detect the presence of such a leak and alert the homeowner to the issue. 

Similarly, this monitoring potential gives homeowners unprecedented ability to optimise their energy efficiency. Smart thermostats, for instance, can be adjusted from a mobile phone or automated with energy-saving functions designed to cut your carbon emissions to an absolute minimum. It is features like these that make IoT devices a promising aspect of future housing, set to expand much further as demand for green living increases. 

How the future is IoT-supported green homes

Right now, there is a large-scale social push towards a more sustainable world. This push is supported by a range of technologies like the IoT that give homeowners, renters and developers greater insight and control into their overall impact. 

Stakeholders in real estate should understand the power and potential of IoT tools in saving energy and money. Investing in clean energy upgrades can even help you attract the vast millennial homebuyer market, among which 72 percent of adults consider homeownership their top priority. Since younger generations increasingly want to be environmentally conscious, sustainable investments are sure to add value. 

The IoT is here, supporting sustainable homes through oversight and automation. Additionally, renewable energy engineers continue to benefit sustainability efforts through smart home innovations. Explore the potential of these devices in your own home and keep an eye out for future green tools made possible by the Internet of Things.

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Indiana Lee

Indiana Lee lives in the Pacific Northwest and has a passion for the environment and wellness. She draws her inspiration from nature and makes sure to explore the outdoors regularly with her two dogs. Indiana has experience in owning and operating her own business. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @indianalee3.
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